The Navy’s Fighter Shortage Is Finally, Slowly Improving

The U.S. Navy?s horrible fighter availability rate is gradually improving thanks to increased funding for fighter maintenance. At one point in 2017, just one in three F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters was available, a number that?s increased to nearly half of all fighters. The problem is in large part due to past budget shortfalls and delayed introduction of the F-35 fighter jet.

The U.S. Navy has 546 F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet fighters, larger, beefier, slightly stealthier versions of the original F/A-18 Hornet. Aircraft readiness rates, or the percentage of aircraft ready for deployment, should typically be north of seventy five percent, depending on type of aircraft, the complexity of the aircraft systems, and the age of the fleet.